Publishing national chemotherapy data has helped NHS hospitals make changes that should improve treatment

It’s often research into new drugs that makes headlines. But examining routine data can also help doctors continually improve how they use treatments already available | CRUK Blog

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To do that the NHS needs to look at how these treatments are being used and how different patients fare following treatment. Last year, we worked with Public Health England to do exactly that.

Our world-first study of patients treated for breast and lung cancer in 2014 gave us a national picture of what happened to patients following treatment with chemotherapy, ‘targeted’ drugs and immunotherapy.

The study was made possible by routine data collected by Public Health England as part of the treatment of all patients across the English NHS. And for the first time each English NHS hospital trust was able to see how well their breast and lung cancer patients fared in the first 30 days after receiving these treatments compared with other trusts.

This measure, called ‘30-day mortality’, is really useful. If a patient dies in that short window of time, it’s unlikely they benefitted from the treatment and they might still have experienced its side effects, even if it didn’t directly lead to their death.

For those patients, other types of treatment and support might have led to a better outcome. But the only way to know this is by giving treatment teams data to help them spot where they could make improvements.

Read the full post here

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